Reading is a high priority area of our English curriculum at Hazlemere. Reading is a fundamental skill, used to stimulate children's imaginations and as a school we aim to help children acquire a love for books. A centralised aspect of our Book-Led Curriculum across the school, reading influences the thoughts, feelings and emotions of all of our learners. We carefully monitor the children’s reading at home and encourage parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this, in order to support their child’s ongoing development.
Reading is celebrated in classrooms at Hazlemere C of E School. In classrooms you will find displays which celebrate authors, children’s favourite books, authors, genres and recommended reads. We have implemented a book-led curriculum across all phases. In addition, throughout the school year the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, author visits, Shakespeare Week, Book Fairs and reading challenges to further enrich our English curriculum.
Each week, we spend time enjoying reading for pleasure in our classrooms during a dedicated reading for pleasure time called D.E.A.R – Drop Everything and Read. When we read for pleasure, pupils are able to choose the books they wish to read and enjoy, can choose to share a book with a peer, buddy read with another class, read the 'First News' newspapers to find out about the world around them, choose to read topic books related to our wider curriculum or visit the school library.
In Nursery and Reception, we use the DFE guidance ‘Letters and Sounds’ to shape the teaching of phonics. In Nursery, children undertake the first phase of phonics in which they are encouraged to differentiate between sounds so that they can later learn the 44 letters sounds. In Reception, this early teaching is developed further and children learn ‘synthetic’ phonics – the 44 letter sounds which are split into seven groups. When the children are secure in blending and segmenting their sounds, they start taking home their reading books. Phonics teaching continues into Years 1 and 2 with a daily Phonics lesson.
Assessment is used frequently to diagnose anything that may be hindering progress in reading. Where children fall behind, targeted support is put in place to help them keep up or catch up quickly.
At Hazlemere C of E School, we use the Oxford Reading tree scheme to support our children in developing their reading skills. The books are banded according to their level of difficulty and match the phases of Phonics. This provides the children with a challenging reading experience which also allows them to use their developing phonic and whole word knowledge to read independently. The Oxford Reading tree scheme comprises a mixture of Fiction, Non-fiction and Traditional tales, which allows children to experience a variety of texts. Oxford Reading Tree books include series such as Floppy’s Phonics, Biff, Chip and Kipper, Traditional Tales, Songbirds Phonics and Story Sparks. Children in KS1 are encouraged to choose their own reading books from an organised system.
Reading books are taken home daily. Children also select for themselves a book from the school’s library or their classroom library. This might be a favourite book, or one of the 50 recommended reads for their year group.
Reading in Key Stage 2
In Key stage 2 some children in year 3 will continue to be taught phonics if they did not meet the end of KS1 expectation. Children continue to select a reading book matched to their reading level.
Assessment takes place termly so that pupils can move through the reading scheme according to ability eventually becoming a ‘free reader’. Children are expected to read at home daily and can also select a reading book of their own choice from the school library or from their classroom library shelves. They are also encouraged to choose from their class recommended reads. Every child has a reading record to record the books they read and this is checked by school staff.
If children are working below their chronological reading age, targeted intervention and support is put in place. All classes have ‘protected’ reading timetabled so that the teacher can model good reading to the children as well as giving them the opportunity to enjoy being read to. Some classes have a specific author study such as Roald Dahl and Shakespeare.
The Teaching of Reading
We have aligned our teaching of reading with Jane Considine's 'Hooked on Books' approach. ‘Book Talk’ is a systematic way to teach reading strategies progressively across the whole school from Year 1 to Year 6 and covers all the requirements of the national curriculum. During the week, children take part in 'Book Talk' a whole class guided reading session. In those 'Book Talk' sessions you will find our children reading by themselves, reading with a partner, reading as a whole class or listening to the class teacher model reading. Children use the 'Reading Rainbow' to read and respond to texts through different lenses within 3 different zones of reading: The ‘Fantastics,’ The ‘Stylistics’ and The ‘Analytics’. Book Talk is key to developing oracy skills. Children collaborate in groups using sentence stems and high utility words to develop a Book Talk response. During a second reading session, the teacher models how to craft and structure comprehension answers and this is followed by children using the same approach to answer questions independently.